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Children in a Norfolk town have been inspired to raise money for people whose hair loss has been caused by the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata after a local shopkeeper with the condition spoke to students about it.

Kim Starling, who sports a completely bald head, so moved the students after her talk – during which she explained how she woke up one morning and found that she had lost almost a third of her hair overnight – that they embarked on a fundraising campaign.

All remaining hair lost

According to the Eastern Daily Press newspaper, Ms Starling, who runs a greengrocers and florist in Fakenham, lost all of her remaining hair in the month that followed the initial overnight shedding – eyebrows and eyelashes included. This is synonymous with the condition Alopecia Universalis, which is a severe form of Alopecia Areata that leads to total hair loss all over the head and body.

Ms Starling told the newspaper: “I will never forget the day it happened, as it was so dramatic. It had been an incredibly busy time at work with a lot of stress, so I was really expecting to go to the doctor and to be told it was curable with treatment.”

She quickly discovered to her dismay, however, that little can be done to alleviate the symptoms. Unlike treatment for Alopecia Areata – when the hair loss is of the scalp-only, patchy type – Alopecia Universalis and its sister condition Alopecia Totalis (which is identical save for the fact that only the head and facial hair are affected), still evade the best efforts of doctors. This may hopefully change soon thanks to various trials that are taking place around the world into JAK inhibitor drugs and modified versions of these. Continues below…

Flowers - Thank You

While clearly upset about the sudden change in her appearance – people who lose that hair to any autoimmune alopecia phenotype frequently say that it greatly affects their sense of identity – Ms Starling adopted a very positive approach towards the disease. She says that she decided she would accept that her hair was unlikely to grow back, and that she would make the most things. “There is nothing worse than the agony of hope – that’s what keeps you awake at night,” she told the newspaper, adding that people actually don’t pay as much attention to a bald head as might be imagined.

Incredible efforts

Clearly impressed by the way in which this popular local shopkeeper had dealt with what could have been an extraordinary setback, children at the nearby Sheringham High School set out to raise funds for the charity Alopecia UK. In doing so, they also managed to demonstrate what a fun place their school is: the school council raised almost £2,000 thanks to a talent show, a teachers’ football tournament, a lip-sync battle – and even a ‘man versus food’ eating competition. Ms Starling described their efforts as “incredible”.

So visible are the effects of Alopecia Areata that many individuals and organisations feel compelled to get behind causes that benefit those who have been diagnosed. Among them are Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, who recently donated a 7-inch length of her hair to charity – most likely Little Princess Trust, which makes real hair wigs for children who have lost theirs to medical hairloss, including that caused by cancer treatment and alopecia.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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When it comes to developing new methods of treating hair loss, though many potential drugs and devices may start clinical trials, it is often the case that they are never heard of again.

This can happen for a number of reasons, including the treatments being tested fail to meet the appropriate standards for safety, tolerability and efficacy. It may also be due to financial issues – whether there is insufficient funding for the necessary research to continue, or where the end product would be prohibitively expensive – especially where other, more affordable treatments already exist.

One area of hair loss research which has been, and remains, consistent in its progress updates is that of janus kinase inhibition – the use of JAK inhibitor drugs – to treat all forms of alopecia areata.

Now, Concert Pharmaceuticals, a Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company, has released its latest progress report regarding the oral alopecia areata drug, CTP-543

Drug trial clinical research hair loss alopecia treatmentOral hair loss solution for severe alopecia areata

Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder with many different phenotypes in which the immune system attacks follicles, pausing the hair growth cycle in its resting phase and causing patchy hair loss to total baldness as a result. This can be temporary or permanent but its duration cannot be predicted; the conditions may also recur once they have cleared up.

Though it is not actually a JAK inhibitor, CTP-543, a deuterium-modified analog of ruxolitinib, is based on one. It is a version of ruxolitinib, a JAK inhibiting drug currently used to treat various blood disorders and cancers, which is also known by the brand name Jakafi, and selectively represses Janus kinases 1 and 2. JAK enzymes form part of the JAK-STAT pathway whereby cells used by signalling proteins known as cytokines help to control various bodily functions, including immune and inflammatory responses.

Medical researchers in the USA first discovered ruxolitinib’s ability to regrow hair loss caused by even the most extreme form of alopecia areata – alopecia universalis – in 2014. The drug showed impressive regrowth results with the hair returning to completely bald scalps within a matter of months. It has been in development since then and is now about to start the second part of its Phase 2a trial – the penultimate stage before it can be approved by the necessary medical authorities, such as the MHRA and FDA, and released for prescription use.

“Progressing as planned”

In the press release dated 12th February 2018, detailing enrolment for the second cohort of its Phase 2a clinical trial into CTP-543, Concert also outlined how it was making headway. It confirmed that an independent Data Monitoring Committee assessing the safety data from the first part of its Phase 2a trial recommended Concert’s researchers continue and also begin the second cohort of this trial. The topline data outcomes from both the first and second cohorts of the Phase 2a trial are expected to be released between September and December 2018.

Commenting on the momentum, James Cassella, PhD, Chief Development Officer of Concert Pharmaceuticals said: “We are pleased that the CTP-543 trial is progressing as planned as we continue to advance the evaluation of our innovative product candidate for alopecia areata. There is a significant unmet medical need for alopecia areata and we intend to be at the forefront of advancing a new oral treatment for patients.”

For adults with the scalp-only form, there are already alopecia areata treatment options available. At Belgravia clients presenting with the condition’s signature rounded patches of hair loss all over their scalp, or even just the odd bald spot, are often treated with topical applications of high strength minoxidil. Though minoxidil is only MHRA and FDA-approved for the treatment of male and female pattern baldness, it is widely acknowledged as benefiting a number of other hair loss conditions, including alopecia when it only affects the scalp; it should not be used on the body or face.

Should it continue to advance as hoped, this oral drug may be something of a triple threat – being both the first effective treatment for alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis, the first oral treatment for alopecia areata and the first alopecia areata treatment to gain FDA-approval. Due to the need for an efficient treatment for the most severe forms of alopecia areata its development is currently being fast-tracked by the FDA

The drug’s estimated availability is unknown, though its competitors – Aclaris Therapeutics and Columbia University medical school – are aiming for a release date of 2020/2021, assuming everything goes to plan with the rest of the clinical trials, for their oral and topical JAK inhibitors which are also being developed to treat all forms of autoimmune alopecia.


The Belgravia Centre Hair Loss Clinic - Hair Loss Specialist ConsultationThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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When people experience hair loss as a result of alopecia areata, their GPs usually explain that they have an autoimmune disorder which is causing their hair to fall out.

Autoimmune disorders come in many guises and have multiple triggers, but one of the most commonly observed is stress. Surprising as it seems, severe stress can lead to everything from depression and asthma to total baldness from head to toe.

Normal Hair Growth Cycle versus Hair Growth in Alopecia AreataNotoriously complex disease

In cases of alopecia areata, doctors are often at a loss to explain exactly what is going on as the disorder is notoriously complex and is full of uncertainties – such as knowing whether or not the condition will linger or heal itself. All that is really known about the mechanism of autoimmune alopecia is that, once triggered, it causes the hair growth cycle to suddenly pause in its resting phase for an un-determinable period of time.

Now scientists at Michigan State University have made some new discoveries about the body’s response to stress which may one day prove beneficial to those investigating new autoimmune disorder treatments, including those for the various severe phenotypes of alopecia areata which are currently untreatable.

Adam Moeser, an associate professor who specialises in stress-induced diseases at the University, has been investigating how certain types of stress interact with immune cells and can regulate how the cells respond to allergens, ultimately causing physical symptoms.

The study he led showed how a stress receptor named CRF1 can transmit signals to certain immune cells known as mast cells and control how they defend the body. In stressful situations, he says, mast cells become activated in response, and CRF1 tells them to release chemical substances that can lead to inflammatory and allergic diseases.

An article on the university’s website explains that one such chemical substance is histamine, which is produced by the body to get rid of invading allergens like pollen. In an ideal scenario, the allergic reaction is a normal response and helps the body to rid itself of things that cause harm. But severe allergies – as well as excess stress – amplify the response, resulting in far more extreme responses such as trouble breathing and anaphylactic shock.

When Moeser removed CRF1 receptors on mice, he found that they had lower histamine levels, less disease and better protection against stress. He says that the results could change the way that multiple autoimmune disorders are treated.

Stress can cause various hair loss conditions

Stress has a generally drying effect on the body, which means it can easily show in your skin and hair, but it is also more commonly linked to hair loss than many people realise.

As well as being an oft-suspected trigger for alopecia areata, intense emotional or physical stresses can also play a part in a temporary condition known as telogen effluvium. When there is a sudden shock or trauma, this may result in the patchy hair fall and bald spots associated with alopecia areata. When there are high stress levels, especially over a prolonged period, the body may divert resources away from non-essential functions such as hair growth, towards more critical functions such as those of the heart and lungs. When this happens, the hair is prematurely pushed into the telogen – resting – phase of its growth cycle, resulting in shedding from all over the scalp around three months after the condition’s onset, leaving behind clearly thinning hair.

Telogen effluvium generally lasts no longer than six months, but when it does, it becomes reclassified as chronic telogen effluvium or diffuse hair loss. Both conditions can clear up naturally though treatment is also available to help accelerate this process.

What is perhaps more surprising is that a bout of telogen effluvium can exacerbate hair loss in cases of both male pattern baldness and female pattern hair loss. Furthermore, it can also prematurely initiate their onset in people with an underlying genetic predisposition. As these hereditary conditions only cause thinning hair around the top of the scalp and hairline, they can be hard to spot during telogen effluvium given this affects the whole head but may explain why some areas are not regrowing as well as others.

With modern life becoming increasingly stressful, this is also thought to be a key reason that young men and women are developing hairloss at an increasingly early age. In 2017 two separate studies further confirmed a link between oxidative stress and premature male pattern baldness in particular.

Knowing this perhaps better explains the stereotypical image of a stressed-out person losing their hair.

If you are concerned about sudden hair fall or regularly losing more hair than normal, a professional diagnosis from a hair loss specialist can be a big help. Once you know what you are dealing with, it often provides peace of mind from the uncertainty, as well as gaining valuable insights into how to move forward. Belgravia offers a range of hair loss treatment courses tailored to the needs of each individual, as well as a number of hair growth booster products. When it comes to alopecia areata treatment, this is currently only suitable for people aged 16 and over who have the scalp-only form of the disorder. It involves a customised hair regimen based around the use of recommended topical high strength minoxidil formulations from those available at Belgravia’s in-clinic pharmacies, paired with additional boosters where appropriate.


circ - Belgravia Centre hair loss clinic London pharmacy hairloss treatmentsThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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It appears that children’s hair loss charity, Little Princess Trust may be giving the royal touch to some of its customers soon thanks to a regal donor.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, had her hair cut and donated the 7 inch-long lengths to a specialist charity, thought to be this much-loved organisation.

Kate-Duchess-of-CambridgeTracking hair donations

Recipients of the much-admired royal hair will not know the source of the hairs used in their wig. In fact, not even volunteers at the charity would have known whose hair they were handling when the donation arrived as it was reportedly sent in using someone else’s name, according to a source quoted in media reports.

Hair sent in to the charity cannot be tracked to a specific wig by either the donor or the recipient.

Kate’s donation will be blended with others of similar shades and made into a number of real hair wigs which will then be distributed to children with medical hair loss, free of charge.

The children helped by Little Princess Trust and its boys division Hero by LPT tend to have lost their hair to cancer treatment or forms of autoimmune alopecia. These can range from alopecia areata, which causes bald spots to appear suddenly on the scalp, to the more extreme Alopecia Universalis which causes complete baldness from head to toe.

Whilst cancer survivors are likely to have their hair grow back within a year of their last treatment session, those with the more severe forms of alopecia areata may or may not regrow their hair – it is currently impossible to predict.

Treatments for these more severe alopecia phenotypes is currently in development, though whether or not they will be suitable for children remains to be seen. Furthermore, whilst scalp-only alopecia areata treatment can help people aged 16 and over, there are currently no treatments for younger children with this milder form. Luckily, in many cases, the hair should regrow naturally within 12 months.

Fuller pregnancy hair

The Duchess of Cambridge is believed to have made the donation in October 2017, a month after Kensington Palace announced that she and husband, Prince William, are expecting their third child in April 2018. This means Kate’s already enviable hair was likely to be at its most lustrous when it was cut, due to changes to the hair growth cycle during pregnancy.

Although the Duchess’s spokesperson has declined to comment on the donation, the story is likely to excite many young girls receiving wigs from the charity and give them an extra boost during a particularly tough time in their lives. Anyone wanting to know more about donating hair to charity can find detailed information on the Little Princess Trust and Hero by LPT websites.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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An exciting development in the field of alopecia areata research may soon mean that there is a treatment option for children whose hair loss has been caused by the condition.

At present, severe forms of the autoimmune disorder – alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis – cannot be treated effectively in adults or children. Where the scalp-only form is concerned, alopecia areata treatment is only available for medically suitable people aged 16 and over, meaning that children – who arguably have the roughest time in terms of involuntarily standing out from the crowd because of the bald patches the condition causes – are woefully underserved.

Facial filler injection syringeInjectable treatment

A company named HCell based in Austin, Texas, aims to change all that with its pioneering research into a new injectable treatment aimed specifically at children with alopecia areata. Its drug is currently named HC017AA and – perhaps unsurprisingly – its makeup is something of a closely-guarded secret.

What is known at this stage is that the drug is being developed for use as a topical injection and aims to regenerate hair through a proprietary blend of commercially procured biologic and autologous tissue. The project was given a significant boost in January when it was granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA in America.

The FDA Office of Orphan Products Development evaluates scientific and clinical data submissions from sponsors to identify and designate products as promising for rare diseases and to advance their scientific development. Orphan Drug Designation allows HCell to be eligible for a seven-year period of US marketing exclusivity if its drug is approved.

Said Jae Hyun Lim M.D., Ph.D, Co-Founder and Chief Science Officer at HCell: “We are working diligently to prepare for the clinical study for this significant, yet unmet, medical need for alopecia areata in paediatric patients.” HCell – a name new to Belgravia – is also working on another product named HC0100, which is intended to treat genetic baldness.

Helping children with alopecia

The news of HCell’s ambitions is to be applauded, as the notion of helping children to avoid having to go through the worry associated with alopecia areata is something very dear to many hair loss specialists’ hearts.

It is unfortunate that HCell’s plan at present is based around injections into the scalp, as this could naturally be quite distressing to children. Frustratingly, many treatments for alopecia areata in adults do not normally use this method. At Belgravia, tailored treatment courses typically involve formulations of topically-applied high strength minoxidil from those available at the clinics’ in-house pharmacies.

This drug opens up the potassium channels in the scalp and in doing so can encourage regrowth. It has proven to be an effective strategy in combating alopecia areata in many cases for suitable men and women aged 16 and over, as can be seen in Belgravia’s Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories.

For those with the currently un-treatable, severe forms of autoimmune alopecia or who are under 16 years of age, the best hair loss solution is often a wig. The much-loved British charity, Little Princess Trust offers real hair wigs free of charge to children. These are produced from donations – both monetary and hair donations – made by members of the public, including celebrities such as Harry Styles and Jessie J.

UPDATE [02/02/18]: Belgravia has received the following response from HCell:

“HC017AA is a secondary treatment to drugs such as steroid, minoxidil, DCCP, PUVA… etc, offered to those who have already tried other treatments but were unsuccessful. The pediatric patients are under anaesthesia when HC017AA is injected on the scalp, so there is no distress. Pediatric patients are under more distress as they start to cope with Alopecia Areata, and bullying by their peer groups is a traumatic scar to the patient. When the pediatric patients come in for their consult, they are more than thrilled to be undergoing a treatment that is not only innovative, but effective.  Moreover, the adults who do not see any results with topically applied drugs (first treatment) turn to HC0100.”


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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In the fiercely-competitive world of basketball, players know only too well to seize any small advantages that may come their way – even if the edge happens to come from hair loss.

Teenage basketball ace Sammy Richardson from Nebraska started losing his hair to the autoimmune disorder alopecia universalis when he was in second grade, and whilst this often-distressing condition which causes total hair loss on the head and body initially knocked him for six, Richardson says he quickly got used to it.

Sammy Richardson BasketballToday, in fact, the six-foot-three leading scorer for the Lincoln High team in the city of Lincoln, says that his completely bald head sometimes gives him a small competitive advantage when he is facing players who don’t know him.

Intimidating vibe

Richardson thinks that his smooth-headed look may give him a slightly intimidating vibe – although he admits that now people have got used to seeing him around, most people he encounters are not phased by his lack of hair. Even so, over the years the young player has had to put up with numerous questions about his bald head, most of which revolved around whether or not he was having treatment for cancer.

Alopecia universalis is a rare and virtually untreatable form of the more widespread alopecia areata, although the latter is far from commonplace and will only affect around 2% of all people in their lifetime. Categorised as autoimmune disorders, both conditions are thought to have multiple suspected triggers. What is especially brutal about alopecia-related conditions is that they can strike without warning and that no one ever knows whether regrowth is just around the corner.

At Belgravia, alopecia areata treatment is possible when clients present with the scalp-only, mild, patchy version of the disease, and tailored treatment courses typically involve formulations of high strength minoxidil from those available at the in-clinic pharmacies. This approach can often produce improved results, examples of which can be seen in Belgravia’s Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories gallery.

Positive sides to alopecia

Richardson is certainly not the only person with a severe form of alopecia to have sought out its positive side. American actor Joseph Gatt, who starred in both Thor and Star Trek: Into Darkness, says he feels blessed to have alopecia. “Without it I would not have been forced to make those difficult decisions and fight those battles that have brought me to the blessed life I currently have,” he said. “Without alopecia, ironically, I probably would not be living my dream as a successful actor.”

These are words that have been echoed by basketball player Charlie Villanueva, who is arguably America’s most high-profile celebrity with alopecia universalis and who is a spokesman for the NAAFA, America’s National Alopecia Areata Foundation. He once said that, “without having alopecia I don’t know where I would be. Alopecia is a blessing in disguise and it made me who I am today. So what is alopecia? My purpose in life.”

More proof that severe alopecia need not be a barrier to personal and professional success can be found in spades in sports circles around the world, with everyone from gold-medal winning British cyclist Joanna Rowsell to footballer Jonjo Shelvey affected by the condition. Like many others with the disease, they have spoken publicly about their struggles to come to terms with their extreme hair loss and have proven to be an inspiration for many.


Belgravia Centre Hair Loss ClinicThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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The maker of a hotly-anticipated new drug – fast-tracked by the FDA – which aims to help people with conditions that can cause severe hair loss has played down concerns that a patent dispute may delay its release.

The drug in question – CTP-543 – is a new pill intended to be taken by adults with autoimmune alopecia and, as of January 2018, it had emerged as the likely front-runner in the race to bring a novel treatment option for these conditions to market.

CTP-543New use for JAK inhibitors

It is being developed by a company named Concert Pharmaceuticals which, like several other companies in America in particular, is trying to find a way to safely use JAK inhibitor drugs that were originally designed to treat everything from certain cancers to rheumatoid arthritis on diseases that cause severe alopecia areata.

Concert is working on a variant of a JAK inhibitor known as ruxolitinib, which US pharmaceutical company Incyte sell under the brand name of Jakafi. According to recent news reports, however, a Concert petition challenging the validity of Incyte’s patent covering deuterated ruxolitinib analogs has been rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s Patent Trial and Appeal Board.

While this sounds potentially problematic to Concert – and indeed it quickly pushed its share price down 10% – the company’s CEO Roger Tung said: “We are disappointed that the PTAB has denied our petition on the patent. This decision does not prohibit us from challenging the validity of the patent at a later time in federal court, and we will continue with our plans to develop CTP-543 for alopecia areata. We don’t expect any disruption to our clinical timelines.”

Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis are extreme forms of the more widely-seen Alopecia Areata, an autoimmune disorder that is usually experienced as sudden, patchy shedding leading to rounded bald spots anywhere on the scalp. All three conditions have a number of suspected triggers, including extreme shock, physical trauma and psychological long-term chronic stress, and whilst steps to try and identify and alleviate these are taken during Alopecia Areata treatment, it is not always possible to do so.

It would appear that Concert was focusing on Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis (which both cause total baldness of the head, with body hair also being lost in cases of the latter) when it applied for FDA fast-tracking, as it stated it wanted to “facilitate the development and expedite the review of new therapies to treat serious conditions and address unmet medical needs.”

Alopecia Areata can be treated

Treatment for the scalp-only phenotype – Alopecia Areata – which is the name of the mildest form of autoimmune hair loss as well as the name for the overarching group of autoimmune disorders that cause hair loss – already exists, and bespoke treatment programmes are tailored to suit the needs of each client.

Belgravia’s hair loss experts have found that formulations of high-strength minoxidil from the range available at its in-clinic pharmacies are often effective when treating Alopecia Areata. Whilst this drug is only approved by the MHRA and the FDA as a treatment for androgenetic alopecia – male and female pattern baldness – it is widely understood to have an impact on other hair loss conditions, too.

This approach can be further augmented by appropriate hair growth boosters. It is important to note that, is not recommended to use LLLT devices – which form part of the clinic’s range of booster products – on Alopecia Areata patients, however.

Neither the treatment nor the booster products can be used on the baldness caused by Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis – hence the current race to bring an appropriate treatment to market. In fact, the recognition of the lack of current options is why the FDA actually granted fast-track status to Concert’s CTP-543 drug. With the many oral and topical JAK inhibitors currently in development, it is hoped that people experiencing the full range of autoimmune alopecia areata conditions will have access to safe and effective treatments for the first time within the coming years.


Circ - Minoxidil iconThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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A Las Vegas-based model who has refused to let severe hair loss get in the way of a glittering career is now starring in one of America’s hottest reality TV competition shows.

Jeana Turner ANTM Cycle 24Jeana Turner, 24, features amongst a pleasingly diverse selection of contenders for the new series of America’s Next Top Model, the long-running show which is back to being fronted by its original boss, Tyra Banks for its 24th season.

International magazines

Turner, whose hair loss has been caused by an extreme form of the autoimmune disorder Alopecia Areata, has already enjoyed success in the pages of such international magazines as Maxim and Playboy, and describes herself on her Facebook page as a glamour, lingerie and swimwear model.

Her hairloss, however, appears to be a lingering source of sadness, as a clip from ANTM cycle 24 shows her breaking down in tears when stylists remove her wig. She tells the camera: “Many people have told me I’m not beautiful.”

The 5ft 5in model’s Instagram page boasts over 149,000 followers and features a mixture of photographs in which she sports either a wig (from a wide selection) or a completely smooth head. Other bald models who have lost their hair to alopecia areata have also achieved professional success, Margaret H Baker among them.

Alopecia Areata is a not-uncommon disease that is most often seen as sudden hair fall leaving rounded bald patches on the scalp, which can be as small as a coin or much larger, ranging in number and size. Jeana Turner, however, may have a slightly different version of this condition – though, in the fan-favourite Makeover episode, Jeana’s wig was removed. These emotional scenes revealed thin tufts of hair covering most of her scalp, suggesting she may have scalp-only Alopecia Areata and usually shave her head.

Alopecia Totalis and Alopecia Universalis are both sister conditions to Alopecia Areata, and each will cause complete baldness of the whole head, including a loss of facial hair such as eyebrows and eyelashes. The latter condition causes those affected to also lose all of their body hair.

Jeana Turner ANTM Cycle 24 baldUnfortunately, such is the complexity of these two conditions that they are as good as untreatable at present, and existing treatment options offer little hope of regrowing a full head of hair. The same is not true of Alopecia Areata – the scalp-only version of the condition.

Alopecia Areata is treatable

When people present to Belgravia with the bald spots or patches of hair loss synonymous with alopecia, they are often comforted to know that the scalp-only phenotype can generally be treated in people aged 16 and over who are deemed medically suitable.

They are often further encouraged by the Alopecia Areata Treatment Success Stories showing others with the condition pictured before and after treatment, whose hair loss cleared up significantly – in many cases, with full regrowth visible.

Whilst results may vary and are not guaranteed given everyone responds differently, Belgravia finds that its Alopecia Areata treatment – which involves a bespoke course featuring several hair growth boosters and daily topical applications of the drug high strength minoxidil to the affected areas – has a high success rate. Unlike for permanent genetic hair loss conditions, treatment for Alopecia Areata does not need to be used on an on-going basis. Once the hair regrowth has reached its optimum levels, treatment can be stopped.

In the not-too-distant future there may also be hope for people with Alopecia Totalis and Universalis thanks to the pioneering work of research teams based chiefly in America, which have been investigating the possibility of using a suite of drugs known as JAK inhibitors as new treatment options.

Originally developed for a variety of serious conditions including certain cancers, these drugs have shown remarkable promise at regrowing hair in some trials and it now appears that the likelihood of them being perfected for use on alopecia-related diseases – and, crucially, being deemed safe to do so – is within the scientists’ grasp. In fact, due to this glaring, unmet medical need, the American medical regulatory body, the FDA, has fast-tracked development of an oral treatment for severe alopecia areata, which is currently in the penultimate stages of clinical trials.


The Belgravia CentreThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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American model Emily Ratajkowski has landed herself in hot water after comments that she posted on Instagram and Twitter were deemed offensive to people who were experiencing hair loss.

The 26-year-old Californian was posting to social media after having won a new contract to be the face of the haircare brand Kérastase, only to find herself pilloried by some fans when she wrote that “hair is a fundamental part of beauty, femininity, and identity.” The full original post is pictured here.

Emily Ratajkowski Kerastase Instagram PostInsensitive comments

Critics were quick to point out that these comments were somewhat insensitive to anybody who had lost their hair – either to chemotherapy treatment or perhaps to the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata or one of its related phenotypes, alopecia totalis and alopecia universalis.

The Evening Standard picked up on the story and highlighted some of the comments. Among these were: “Are you for real @emrata my best friend @zconers has endured chemotherapy radiotherapy and a stem cell transplant and lost every last hair on head yet it was the most beautiful I have ever seen her!?” And also: “Pretty sure all the girls and women that have lost their hair are still just as beautiful. I used to be a big fan of you, but this is just shallow. Unfollowed.”

A third posted: “And your apology? Did it get lost in your ego or in all that beautiful hair that defines who you are?”

Following the furious reactions, Emily Ratajkowski deleted her original tweet and replaced the caption on her Instagram post with some less controversial text. She also tweeted an apology, saying: “I really apologize about my post that hair is a beauty of a feminine. I didn’t mean to offend people who are struggling w/ cancer.. I meant that everyone is beautiful on their own way and my hair is something beautiful that makes me confident about myself.”

Kerastase also took down the advert from its social media channels and responded to commenters saying, “We are deeply sorry for offending our fans and followers – it was absolutely not our intention. As our new muse, Emily, says, “everyone is uniquely beautiful in their own way”, and we agree wholeheartedly. We sincerely apologize and appreciate that you have called us out. We have learned from this and we will do better in future.”

Female Pattern Hair Loss ConsultationDifferent point of view

Ratajkowski’s initial suggestion that hair is a fundamental part of beauty, femininity and identity is actually a far from uncommon standpoint, though it is often espoused by women who are losing their locks and who are, therefore, coming at things from a slightly different angle.

Hair lost during cancer treatment is especially hard to bear, and most women who are undergoing chemotherapy will be warned that they can expect to lose some or most of their hair. In many cases, it will grow back, and shedding can also be avoided or minimised some of the time if a patient is able to use a scalp-cooling device called a cold cap during treatment.

When regrowth is stubborn or otherwise problematic, help can sometimes be offered by a specialist hair loss clinic. At Belgravia, hair growth can often be given a helping hand courtesy of a bespoke hair loss treatment course tailored to the individual’s specific condition, medical and lifestyle needs. These courses feature clinically-proven medications and additional hair growth boosters such as the highly-targeted nutritional supplement Hair Vitalics for Women for healthy hair growth.

This can also be of help in cases of alopecia areata, though supplements would not normally be considered a primary treatment option. When hair lost to alopecia areata is not too widespread – i.e. it presents as small bald patches – then Belgravia’s experts have found that high strength minoxidil from the formulations available at the clinics’ in-house pharmacies can be very effective, as shown in the assortment of before and after photographs in the archives.


circ - womens hair loss treatment belgravia centre hair vitalics hair growth supplements for womenThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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Scientists in America have announced a trial to see if a laser that is normally used to refresh ageing skin has any effect on the scalps of people with genetic hair loss or the autoimmune disorder alopecia areata, which typically leads to sudden, patchy shedding.

The researchers, who are based at Chicago’s Northwestern University, will soon be recruiting around 20 people for the study, which will involve the participants receiving five sessions of Fraxel laser treatment spread across 150 days.

On its trial announcement at clinicaltrials.gov, the research team states that it will be recruiting people with non-scarring alopecia – meaning that they will be recruiting from the roughly 2% of the US population which has alopecia areata, and also the far greater percentage which has either male pattern baldness or female pattern hair loss. An area measuring 100cm2 on the scalp of each participant will be targeted.

Recruits to be split?

Volunteers must be 18 years or older and in good health, and it would seem that they may be split into two groups. The first are those people who have never used the proven hairloss drugs finasteride 1mg and minoxidil; the second are those who have consistently used these products for at least a year. In this way the research team will be able to see if the application of Fraxel’s controlled micro-injuries appears to enhance existing treatments, as well as assessing if it is any use on its own. Continues below…

Fraxel

According to the Fraxel website, treatments typically last between 15 and 45 minutes and the company states that during treatment, fractional lasers penetrate top skin layers. This results in micro-thermal zones where the light energy stimulates collagen production. The net result, it says, is that “your skin’s natural rejuvenation process smoothes wrinkles and scars by stimulating collagen.”

The laser treatment is typically offered as a cosmetic procedure, often as a facial, to help fix fine lines and wrinkles, surface scarring, pigmentation and sun damage – amongst other things. Clearly, the point of the Northwestern study is to move into new territory and see what effect, if any, it has on the scalps of people who are losing their hair.

Regrowing hair

The prognosis for people presenting at a specialist clinic with common hair loss conditions is often very good. In cases where the hair follicles are still active, there are options available that have been shown to stabilise hair fall, promote hair growth and prevent baldness in cases of androgenetic alopecia.

There are effective, clinically-proven hair loss solutions for men and women with thinning hair caused by male and female pattern baldness. Whilst Belgravia’s alopecia areata treatment has provided significant hair regrowth results for many clients with the bald spots symptomatic of the scalp-only form of this autoimmune disorder.

In addition to featuring medications personalised to each individual’s requirements, Belgravia courses are usually augmented by additional hair growth booster products to encourage good scalp care and healthy hair growth. These range from hair growth supplements such as Belgravia’s exclusive Hair Vitalics, to low-level laser therapy devices designed to be used at home, such as the HairMax LaserBands.

It would appear that the Chicago study may have Fraxel in mind as a similar potential hair growth booster.


circ - Belgravia Centre hair loss clinic London pharmacy hairloss treatmentsThe Belgravia Centre

The Belgravia Centre is the leader in hair loss treatment in the UK, with two clinics based in Central London. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation Form from anywhere in the UK or the rest of the world. View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which are the largest collection of such success stories in the world and demonstrate the levels of success that so many of Belgravia’s patients achieve. You can also phone 020 7730 6666 any time for our hair loss helpline or to arrange a free consultation.


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